|Big Black Face
"If you can't hear me...it's because I'm in parenthesis." - Steven Wright
Can anyone explain to me why this climb has not been described yet? I think I know the answer. Ya see, about 100 years ago, back when I was in college, my uninformed climbing partners in the Black Hills State University Climbing Club (myself included) used to call this climb, "The route to the right of Land Speed Record."
This situation was maddening(1). And the confusion might have been the result of the following fact (2). At the time, Bruce Junek's yellow guidebook had this climb listed as the very last climb on the big, black face right before (and just to the left of) Christian Baird's crack route, which to this day, still only sports a pair of anchors since Christian sent the crack (without bolts) using only trad gear. Whether or not that sick-looking crack has seen a second, third or even fourth ascent is questionable...but what was undeniable was that sometimes, after a day of rock climbing, I'd meet my friends at the bar and would ask them, "So...did ya climb today?" The answer was inevitably, "Yes."
Since South Dakotans typically need a lot of help to get a conversation going, I'd then ask, "Where?"
To that they'd utter, "Big Black Face."
To this, my dismayed and aggitatedly curious mind would ask, "What routes?"
"Ah yah know...Ninja, Pakastani...Candy Apple Grey and the route to the right of Land Speed Record."
I guess what confused everyone was the fact that (back in those days) there was ANOTHER route to the right of that route (that was just to the right of Land Speed record), which was to the left of that sick-looking crack that Christian Baird had established on trad gear(1). Junek's guidebook did not mention this route that was to the immediate left of Baird's crack route (2).
Oh, and by the way, Christain, if you are reading this...you have no idea how many times we talked about how sick of a send that must have been for you. Imagine a group of young, freezing climbers, standing in a circle (at the base of The Big Black Face) nodding their heads after one of them says, "That must have been a sick send."
Anyway! I have finally done the research! The climb to the right of Land Speed Record is officially named Husker Don't(3). Presumably, it is named after that band, Husker Du, that everyone listened to in college...but for some reason...could not remember the name of.
FOR THOSE WHO WANT ME TO SKIP THE NOSTOGLIA AND CUT TO THE CHASE: This is a long, slabby climb with an easy start, a killer, finger crack-like sequence in the middle section that leads to an undulating upper section with slopey holds that seems to never end. There are good rests on good ledges that have (over the years) allowed many a freezing college student to think long (and hard) about the next move to the next bolt that seems a million miles away.
Consensous: GREAT CLIMB! A classic for those (like me) who got to brag about our shivering send to our college friends at the bar. Some moves are committing and a bit unnerving.
References: (1) M.P. Conversation between Walters and Cronin (2010). (2) Bruce Junek's yellow guidebook. (3) Cronin's "new" guidebook.
Still unknown to this day, but there is a chance a hung-over BHSU student might be able to hook you up with some beta. If nothing else, they will point to the route to the right of Land Speed Record and say, "That one? Maybe?"
Interesting Side Note: The climb at the very right hand side of The Big Black Face (that was left out of Junek's Guide, thus causing all the confusion)is known as Sir Slabs A Lot.
Every quickdraw you own and then some. Borrow some gear from your college friend who is too hung over to climb. Actually, it's got a dozen bolts on it and closed shut anchors.
I remember the anchors being a bit funky. Be sure you have a personal anchoring system on your harness since you might need to hang to put the rope through the closed anchors.
CAUTION: Long Climb! Belayers! Tie a knot in the end of that rope if you know what is good for you and your climber!